Judge orders 2018 murder case to proceed

Adam Rollins, Staff Writer
Posted 1/21/22

The judge in a 2018 murder case has ordered criminal proceedings to resume after the defendant was declared mentally fit to stand trial.

Marlene R. Wynn, 55, of Warrenton, was charged in September …

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Judge orders 2018 murder case to proceed

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The judge in a 2018 murder case has ordered criminal proceedings to resume after the defendant was declared mentally fit to stand trial.

Marlene R. Wynn, 55, of Warrenton, was charged in September 2018 with first-degree murder and armed criminal action for the killing of her 85-year-old mother. Several weeks after the killing, Wynn was evaluated by the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH) and found to have a mental illness that would prevent her from participating in criminal proceedings.

Missouri law requires that a criminal suspect must be mentally capable of understanding the court proceedings and charges against them, and be capable of assisting in their own defense, in order to stand trial.

Last week on Jan. 12, Associate Circuit Judge Richard Scheibe ruled that Wynn is now fit to return to Warren County and participate in criminal proceedings. The ruling comes nearly two years after DMH reported that it had treated Wynn’s mental illness and evaluated her to be competent, according to court records.

In his order to proceed with the case, Scheibe wrote that Wynn “may be discharged from the Department of Mental Health and is hereby ordered to be returned to the custody of the Warren County Jail, and the criminal proceeding be resumed.”

A preliminary hearing for Wynn’s criminal case has been set for March 2 in Warren County Circuit Court. Wynn is being represented by the Public Defender’s Office out of St. Charles.
Wynn was arrested after the body of her mother, Mildred Brune, was found in Brune’s home on Cambridge Drive in Warrenton with severe head trauma and stab wounds. Wynn reportedly was found in the home and identified as the suspect in the killing, having made multiple statements that she had killed her mother using a knife and a cane, police at the time said.

In February 2020, DMH reported to the court that Wynn’s mental state had been restored sufficiently to stand trial, and asked the court to return her to custody in Warren County. Public defenders representing Wynn opposed that conclusion, asking the court in March 2020 to allow a second opinion from an independent examiner.

That’s about the time when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Missouri and caused a massive backlog of delayed court cases.

In October 2020, Judge Scheibe agreed to allow defense attorneys 30 more days to obtain an independent mental examination and report the results to the court. But it wasn’t until nearly a year later that further action was taken in the case.

According to Scheibe’s order issued last week, defense attorneys did not follow through on providing an independent mental examination to the court in 2020. Scheibe therefore ruled in favor of the DMH recommendation to proceed with the criminal case.


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